I’m an architect

  structural waterproofing for designers

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO STRUCTURAL WATERPROOFING

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Architects, welcome!

BS8102. The first point to consider with the BS8102 code of practice is that it is a guidance document, not a specification. This is bad news for you because you are specifiers. So what are you supposed to specify?

Well, before we go onto what we should start with why?

Your specification needs to keep the space you are designing dry. This can be done in three ways:

1) Type A – You stop water coming in using a barrier protection;

2) Type B – You stop water coming in structurally;

3) Type C – You accept that water is going to come in and deal with it.

There is more detail on these Types in the next section, including their strengths and weaknesses and some common issues where clever design can solve a lot of hurt and wasted expense when the shell and core are complete.

But, before we move onto the nitty gritty of Types and other waterproofing facets we have a specially important chapter relating to the design team…

the design team

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Traditionally it has been the architect’s role to draw up and recommend the waterproofing design for below ground projects. However, the vast majority of architects will readily acknowledge that they do not have the training or expertise to undertake this function. The only reason they have been doing it is because there are so few people in the industry who are willing to undertake this role.

The latest edition of BS 8102 recognises this problem and has addressed it by recommending that every design team incorporates a Waterproofing Design Specialist.

This is set out in section 4.2 of BS 8102:2009 under the heading “Design Team”. The code states:-

“A waterproofing specialist should be included as part of the design team so that an integrated waterproofing solution is created. The waterproofing specialist should:-
a) be suitably experienced;
b) be capable of devising solutions that accommodate the various project constraints and needs;
c) provide the design team with information and guidance that assists with and influences the design, installation and future maintenance of the waterproofed structure.

NOTE: The waterproofing specialist could be the manufacturer or material supplier, provided that the manufacturer/supplier has the relevant expertise.”

Pay particular attention to the bold, underlined section of the above quote from BS8102. This, in any other circumstance, would probably cause some alarm bells to ring for the purchaser.  You can walk into car manufacturer’s dealership and speak to a salesman. But we all know that they aren’t going to give you the car that matches your needs, they are going to try and sell you something bigger, shinier, faster and, most importantly, more expensive!

The same principle applies here: a product manufacturer will sell their product to you.

what is a waterproofing design specialist?

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Waterproofing design specialists can, in theory, be anybody who is able to provide expertise in structural waterproofing. However, identifying those that have the appropriate skills and knowledge from those who don’t can be difficult and daunting.  Singling out a seasoned expert from an enthusiastic salesman, even more so! Even the most experienced architects and building developers can struggle to identify those that can be trusted to give the correct information.

BS8102 states that the Waterproofing Design Specialist should have knowledge of the following:

  1. The range of waterproofing systems and products available.
  2. An in-depth understanding of the requirements of BS8102.
  3. Sources of water, and how it flows through the soil and interacts with the structure.
  4. Sufficient structural knowledge to be able to discourse meaningfully with the structural engineer.
  5. Sufficient geotechnical knowledge to be able to understand the implications of a soil report, and to discourse meaningfully with the geotechnical engineer.

Sounds challenging, right?!

how can i find a waterproofing design specialist?

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Whilst there may be many people who are able to fulfil the function of Waterproofing Design Specialist, the leader of the design team will need to know who they are. At the present time there is no register or central point where people with the right skills can make themselves known. Currently the only way to identify an individual who has put themselves through the rigours of study and qualification in this specialist field is to look for those who have attained the Certificated Surveyor in Structural Waterproofing (CSSW) qualification.

Contact Crownstone Group today  on 0208 2265654 or visit www.crownstonegroup.co.uk to speak to one of our CSSWs about your project’s requirements.

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